The Best Red Lipsticks, Courtesy Of A Local Artist Who's Made Them Her Signature

The Addiction is Real!

A few thoughts on lipstick...

I didn't know when I first embarked on wearing red lipstick what a "thing" it was. A conversation starter. A cult. A statement. A lifestyle. I learned very quickly that red lipstick was much more than just make up. In fact, I started getting feedback on it the very first day I wore it. For many, myself included, red lipstick seems to eventually turn to become an addiction of sorts.

I had been wearing lipstick since my college years (although not red, more mauves), and mostly Clinique, because it was the make up line my mom, aunt, and grandmother all faithfully used.  Branching out meant borrowing different shades from friends or grabbing a tube of Cover Girl from the local grocery store.

Things changed. When I turned 40, I decided that I wanted to do something different with my look to celebrate the birthday milestone. But I felt like it needed to be easy, so switching to red seemed like the logical choice. It immediately started conversations such as "Where did you get your lipstick?" to  "Wow, you are really brave to wear such a bold color at your age!" to "You look like a character from the 1950.", and everything in between. Once I got used to wearing red, even with the ongoing (usually pleasant) commentary, I felt WEIRD when I didn't have it on. When I started to not recognize myself when I wasn't wearing it, I knew it had become part of my personality. I actually think it has made me more extroverted over the years. As a self diagnosed Introverted Extrovert, I feel like the red made me say to myself, "Hey, I can stand out more, it's OK - I don't have to always be trying to fade into the background for fear something could happen. I can handle whatever approaches me."

Things have changed in terms of the lipstick I use as well. My end all be all favorite of reds is Mac Russian Red. It smells great, it’s very smooth on application, and really stays on. This may be a slightly embarrassing admission, but the Kate Moss Collection for Rimmel is a close second, in either #1 or #11 - it's a bit waxier, but the color is rich. Kat Von D's vegan lipsticks are another favorite, especially in Hellbent. I splurged a few months ago and bought a limited edition red created by Aerin Lauder for the Neue Gallerie in NYC, and not only was it beautiful to wear but the packaging was amazing. I still keep a tube of Origins Matte Stick in Malt in my drawer, even though it has been discontinued, because I think of it as my "transitional" lipstick to real red. I love grabbing anything that looks good at the drug store, too - NYX, Milani, L'Oreal. Basically what I'm saying is, I'm a bit obsessed with it.

So Happy belated National Lipstick Day to all of your lovers of the reds and beyond. I am happy to be in your company! And for those of your who think you can't wear red, chances are you probably can. It just involves taking a chance.:)

Jenny Brown

More About Jenny

Jenny Brown is visual artist living and working in Providence, Rhode Island, whose primary mediums are drawing, collage, and works on paper. Her work brings to life a mythical world of sea creatures and celestial beings, realized through her love of paper ephemera.

Her recent collage works focus on a dream of representing harmony amongst different elements of the natural world (flora, fauna, the moon, the sea). An abundance of flowers in the work represent the hearts and souls of these fantastic creatures. Branches and tentacles share their yearning to be connected to the most basic elements of life which created them...the cosmos, the oceans, the skies.

Jenny studied art at Bennington College and received her MFA from School of Visual Arts in New York in 2005. She was a guest this spring on The Jealous Curator’s “Art for Your Ear” podcast, as well as a featured artist in Create Magazine, and “The Handmade Life,” published by Thames & Hudson. Her work is currently available at Collier West in Brooklyn, NY.